Blunt Says Next Pentagon Chief Important to Missouri

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt in KC Wednesday.

One of the newest members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Missouri’s Roy Blunt says he plans to visit with Defense Secretary nominee former Sen. Chuck Hagel, “in a few days”.

Hagle’s nomination has to be confirmed by the Senate.

Some in Washington, including allies of Israel, are skeptical of Hagel’s support for the main US partner in the Midwest.

His prospects for confirmation appeared to improve earlier this week when Senator Chuck Schumer of New York endorses his nomination.

Blunt says he has not made up his mind yet on whether or not to vote for Hagel’s confirmation.

Blunt thinks this nomination to lead the Defense department may be critical.

“The person confirmed in this Congress is going to have as much to say about the next generation of American defense strategy as anybody has had in a long time”, Blunt said in Kansas City Wednesday.

The Missouri Republican said the next Defense Secretary will have to protect the nation’s military from across-the-board cuts, and at the same time, cut Pentagon spending.

Blunt says the choice is especially important for Missouri because of the defense department’s connections to the state. He noted that more than 200,000 Missouri or people in uniform who serve in Missouri get military-related paychecks.

Three of the state’s largest military facilities are the Army’s training Center at ft. Leonard Wood, the Air Force Whiteman Airbase. The base is the home for the B-2 bomber wing. The Lakeside Munitions plant in eastern Jackson County also employs many Missourians, as well.

Both Missouri senators, Blunt and Democrat Claire McCaskill sit on the Senate’s Armed Service Committee.

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